Through the years as we have raised our boy with disabilities, we frequently observe people staring at us or Christopher. Typically, when we adjust our gaze to make eye contact, the other person quickly looks away and pretends to not have been staring. While we do not take offense at someone who stares (at the way Christopher walks, squeals, or giggles), we do very much appreciate those who choose to approach us and ask questions, or simply wish us a good day. Even if we have caught someone staring, we would love them to say 'Good Afternoon" rather than shield their eyes and walk in a different direction.
As we traveled to St. George last night, after we changed a blown-out tire on our trailer, we stopped at a Maverick in Santaquin, Utah. I topped off our Denali with gas, and then took Christopher in with the rest of the family to use the facilities. I held his right hand, and allowed him to walk. It is slower than if I simply carried him, but I believe he truly loves to walk, and it gives him a measure of freedom to choose his course or direction. As he walked, I noticed a big burly farmer watching with an ear-to-ear grin on his face that rivaled Christopher's. He did not turn away when I looked his way, but continued to smile and walked into the store.
Shortly after Christopher and I got in the store, another older, burly farmer approached and commented on what a special boy I had there. I wholeheartedly agreed and jokingly said that my boy wasn't for sale. The farmer said, "but I need to get me one of those, he sure is special." He continued to interact with Christopher as if he had known him for years rather the seconds. Not long after the second grizzled farmer walked away, we walked by the first on our way to the facilities. He stopped, ran his hands through Christopher's hair, and commented on what a fine boy he was.
I have never spent much time in Santaquin, but if half the people are as nice as these two grizzled farmers were, I have definitely been missing out.